News: UK Councils urge Brits to embrace re-use revolution
Survey reveals over half of householders have thrown out goods they knew could be re-used
Thursday, 9th January 2014
The Local Government Association (LGA) has issued a fresh call for consumers to stop throwing out usable electronics, clothes, and other goods, after a new survey revealed that more than half of Brits admit to throwing away items that they knew could be re-used. The Populus poll of 924 people revealed that 55 per cent have thrown something away that they thought could have been reused or repaired for re-use. The survey is a precursor to a new report from the LGA's Reuse Commission, which will show how people are supporting the re-use of resources through re-gifting unwanted items, donating them to charity, or making use of re-use services such as Freegle and Freecycle. Growing numbers of councils offer re-use and recycling services, offering to collect bulky items and ensure that they are re-used or recycled as appropriate. However, relatively high numbers of households are continuing to throw out re-usable items as part of their normal rubbish, even when sending eWaste landfill breaches EU and domestic regulations. Councillor Mike Jones, chair of LGA's environment and housing board, said the onus was on businesses, councils, and households to work together to make reuse of resources easier. "We live in a throwaway society and many of us have been guilty of discarding something perfectly usable because it is unwanted, but by making it easier to repair and recondition products we can avoid sending many hundreds of thousands of tonnes of unnecessary waste to landfill every year," he said. "Less than one per cent of the items which make up household waste are currently re-used but we know there is huge potential to increase this. For example, almost a quarter of the electronic and electrical products which are thrown away would be reusable either straightaway or with limited repairs." He added that the post-Christmas period was the perfect time for people to embrace reuse. "Many of us will have received Christmas presents which we may not want to keep, or which will replace items which can still be used," he said. "In either case, rather than throwing them away, we are encouraging people to re-use them, whether this means giving them to someone else who would like them, finding a new home for them via a website or taking them to a specialist recycling facility."